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Mercyhurst, Flagship Niagara League form partnership

Monday, August 28, 2017

Don’t be surprised if someday you spot a Mercyhurst University flag waving in tandem with the stars and stripes of the U.S. Brig Niagara.

Today, Mercyhurst University and the Flagship Niagara League announced that Mercyhurst has become an “Official University Partner” of the Niagara, a development sponsorship that will create a number of special opportunities for both organizations. For Mercyhurst’s contribution, it will mean dockside receptions for donors and alumni at cities like Buffalo, Cleveland and Rochester along the Niagara’s sailing route.

On the flip side, Mercyhurst will offer its guests promotional items from the Flagship Niagara League, and provide support for a number of the league’s existing programs.

“As an institution grounded in the legacy of our founding Sisters of Mercy, supporting the Flagship Niagara, both an historical artifact and an educational attraction, is certainly consistent with our mission,” said Mercyhurst President Michael Victor. “That, in turn, we receive opportunities to engage our students, employees and alumni is an added bonus.”

One such opportunity is flying the Mercyhurst University flag when students are sailing as trainees on the Niagara. Reconstructed in 1988, the Niagara is a replica of the square-rigged sailing warship that fought in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. Last summer, it served as the centerpiece of a three-credit history offering by Mercyhurst professors John Olszowka and Ben Scharff, the latter of whom designed and taught the course, and enjoyed by seven Mercyhurst students who spent two-and-a-half weeks on board learning traditional seafaring skills.

Caleb Pifer, vice president for external relations and advancement, was instrumental in facilitating the sponsorship. “The Niagara will serve as a floating extension of Mercyhurst, serving as a marketing platform around the Great Lakes,” Pifer said. “We consider it a wonderful opportunity.”

“The Flagship Niagara League is proud to partner with Mercyhurst University on this opportunity,” said Shawn Waskiewicz, executive director of the Flagship Niagara League. “Both are pillars in our community and we look forward to growing our relations with the university, alumni, and students."

(Photo courtesy Bill Welch)